Most small camping stoves are only sized for one or two people, but the Jetboil Helios can accommodate groups while still being relatively portable. At 28 ounces, it's certainly not the lightest camping stove on the market, but the stove gets high marks for efficiency. The Jetboil Helios burns isobutane-propane fuel, but the inverted design gives it stronger performance than most canister stoves in cold weather. It comes with a plastic windscreen and 2-liter cooking pot, although a 3-liter pot (*Est. $50) is also available for larger groups. The stove fits inside the cooking pot for portability. Reviewers say the Jetboil Helios is highly efficient, with most tests confirming Jetboil's claims of a three-minute boiling time. In one test, however, the stove took five minutes to bring one liter of water to a boil. While reviewers like the stove overall, some complain that the piezo igniter takes several tries before it lights. If you don't need to cook for a group, the MSR Reactor (*Est. $140) or Snow Peak LiteMax (*Est. $60) post faster boiling times, but they are only sized for one or two people.
BackpackingLight.com has the most comprehensive and detailed test of the Jetboil Helios. Roger Caffin's testing is objective and scientific, although the full details are only available to subscribers. Men's Journal, Rock and Ice magazine and GearJunkie.com also test the Jetboil Helios, although their testing criteria are not explained quite as clearly.
This detailed test from BackpackingLight.com focuses on carbon monoxide emissions, but the Jetboil Helios is also subjected to general boiling tests. Full details are available to subscribers.
Review: Stoves, Tents and Carbon Monoxide - Deadly or Not?, Roger Caffin
The Jetboil Helios brings a liter of water to boil in 2.5 minutes in Stephen Regenold's test, and he is also able to decrease the heat sufficiently to bring food to a simmer. Overall, Regenold says the Jetboil Helios is easy to use, although pricey.
Review: Jetboil Helios Review, Stephen Regenold, June 16, 2008
The editors of SNews give the Jetboil Helios a very positive review, praising the fuel performance and fast boiling times. The lid on their test model pops off unexpectedly several times, but they still give it a rating of 4.5 stars out of five.
Review: Jetboil Helios, Editors of SNews, July 7, 2008
4. Men's Journal
The Jetboil Helios earns a Gear of the Year award from Men's Journal. Adam Spangler says the Helios boiled 1.5 liters of water in less than three minutes -- in a windstorm, no less. No negatives are mentioned.
Review: Gear of the Year 2008: Explore, Adam Spangler, Dec. 5, 2008
Larry Amkraut at Rock and Ice magazine says the Jetboil Helios performs well in freezing temperatures thanks to its inverted design, although he had some difficulty trying to light it. Overall, he gives it four stars out of five.
Review: Jetboil Helios, Larry Amkraut
Wired.com gives the Jetboil Helios only an average rating. Although Steven Leckart says the stove is efficient and quiet, he thinks it's expensive and questions the durability of the plastic windscreen.
Review: Jetboil Helios, Steven Leckart, June 27, 2008
7. Seattle Times
In this single-product review, Dan Nelson at The Seattle Times says the Jetboil Helios has set a new standard for camping stoves. However, if you just need to boil water, Nelson recommends looking for a lighter model.
Review: Jetboil Helios Turns Stove Technology on Its Head, Dan A. Nelson, Aug. 7, 2008
In about two dozen reviews, owners give the Jetboil Helios average ratings. Some owners like the powerful performance, but others say the temperature control could be improved.
Review: Jetboil Helios Cooking System, Contributors to Buzzillions.com